Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/316

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308
ENORMOUS HORNS OF CATTLE.

The Bechuana cattle (of greater bulk and stouter proportions) seem to surpass the Damara cattle in this respect. Among many other curious and interesting objects, there is now in the collection of Colonel Thomas Steel, of Upper Brook Street, a perfect cranium of a young Bechuana ox,[1]

Lake Ngami-p308.png

SKULL OF A BECHUANA OX.

of which the wood-cut is a fair representation. The following are its dimensions:

Entire length of horns from tip to tip along the curve 13 ft. 5 in.
Distance (straight) between the tips of the horns 8
Circumference of horns at the root 1
Breadth of cranium between the eyes 0
Length""" 2 2

But I have been told on good authority that in some parts of Africa horns of cattle are found greatly to exceed the above dimensions. The horns, indeed, are of so enormous a size as seriously to inconvenience the animal. Their length and weight have been known to be so great as to twist the head to one side, one of the horns dragging on the ground, while the other pointed upward.

The Damaras prize their oxen in proportion to the size of

  1. This remarkable beast was a long time in the possession of Mr. Oswell, who, I believe, intended to bring it alive to England, but unavoidable circumstances prevented this distinguished traveler from carrying his plan into execution.